COLUMBIA — The ex-wife of Missouri GOP Senate candidate Eric Greitens has accused him of physical abuse.

That's according to an affidavit filed Monday and obtained by KOMU 8 News in the former couple's child custody case in Boone County.

Sheena Greitens filed for divorce from Eric Greitens after a sex scandal led to his resignation as governor in June 2018. Sheena Greitens is asking the court to move the custody case to Austin, Texas, where she is employed and now lives with their two sons. 

She said she became afraid for her and her children's safety due to Eric Greitens' "unstable and coercive behavior” in the months leading up to his resignation.

In an emailed statement to the Associated Press, Greitens' campaign manager, Dylan Johnson, called the allegations “completely false” and “politically-motivated.”

In the affidavit, Sheena Greitens alleges prior to their divorce, Eric Greitens knocked her down and took her cell phone, wallet and keys, so she couldn't call for help. When confronted about it by Sheena Greitens' mother, Eric Greitens said he did so "to prevent Sheena from doing anything that might damage his political career."

Sheena Greitens said Eric Greitens' physical violence included "cuffing our then three-year-old son across the face at the dinner table in front of me and tanking him around by his hair." She said it also included threats in order to "coerce her to do or to refrain from doing or saying certain things."

The affidavit says Eric Greitens admitted to his ex-wife in January 2021 that he had taken the photo, which resulted in the invasion of privacy charge, of his hairstylist. Sheena Greitens alleges that Eric Greitens threatened she would "be exposed to legal jeopardy" if she disclosed the information to anyone. 

"Because of the reach of his influence in Missouri, I believed him, which had the consequence of isolating me from many sources of outside support as his threats escalated and my concerns for my safety and that of my children grew," the affidavit reads. 

Sheena Greitens said Eric's admitted infidelity caused her "significant emotional distress and exposed to public discussion many painful person matters."

"... I saw Eric seek to destroy the credibility of the victim in the invasion of privacy case, using the unique leverage he had in Missouri to do so," Sheena Greitens wrote in the affidavit. 

Eric Greitens allegedly threatened to kill himself during the spring and early summer of 2018, unless his ex-wife provided public political support, the affidavit said. It noted that multiple people limited Eric Greitens' access to firearms during those months.

At one point, Eric Greitens referenced to the fact that he had the children — and she didn’t — while trying to persuade Sheena Greitens to delete emails she had sent to the family therapist seeking help, according to the affidavit.

“Eric threatened to accuse me of child abuse if I did not delete the emails and convince the therapist to delete them,” she wrote.

She also said that during the same phone call, Eric Greitens berated her as a “hateful, disgusting, nasty, vicious ... lying b - - - h” while accusing her of providing information about him to prosecutors and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

A few weeks later, he grew angry and confronted her when she tried to fly with the children to her parents’ house, she said.

He “threatened to come to the airport and have me arrested for kidnapping and child abuse, saying that because of his authority as a former governor who had supported law enforcement, the police would support him and not believe me.”

The Associated Press' Brian Slodysko, Jim Salter and Summer Ballentine first reported the allegations.

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